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ANLCA raises question on fresh charges by shipping firms at ports

The Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) has viewed with worry; the recent charges slammed on Nigerian importers by CMA-CGM and noted that the act is neocolonialism of licensed custom agents.

In a terse statement made available to Business Hilights on Sunday and endorsed by the image maker, Dr. Farinto Kayode, ANLCA said “Just when the federal government rolled out second phase of action plan on ease of doing business, to ameliorate the suffering of the citizenry CMA-CGM, a shipping agent decided to extort Nigerians, move us back by slamming thirty-eight thousand naira (38,000) per twenty footer equivalent (TEU) as “ports additional destination charges”.

“We see this as act tantamount to challenging the collective sensibility of Nigerians. This is absurd and wickedness in its entirety.

The group added that “We frown at the honorable minister of communication towing the way of Emperor Nero by fiddling and pretending that all is well when Rome was burning. It is unfortunate that the government is fiddling when the maritime industry is being hijacked”.

Accordingly, ANLCA has called on all Nigerian importers to discontinue all shipping of their cargoes/containers through CMA-CGM and any other agents that tows this line. Your continued patronage is empowering this Neocolonialist at the expense of our collective economy.

It would be recalled that since June this year, there has been some levels of disquiet and stakeholders complain about the high cost of clearing goods at the nation’s sea ports following what they described as introduction of a N70,000 royalty dues by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), to be collected on its behalf by shipping companies.

Details accessed from an invoice issued to an importer (name withheld) showed that a shipping company, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (Nigeria) Ltd, collected N70,000 from the consignee as “Nigeria Port Service” charges for a 40-feet container of electronics imported from China.

The invoice with number IM00084451, gave the bill of lading number as well as the containers number as MOLU 11044005466 and TCNU 9295633 respectively. Other charges in the invoice include shipping line agency charge, stamp duty charge and container clearing at N45,000, N50 and N4,000 respectively.

Confirming this in Lagos, Deputy National President of the National Council of Managing Directors of Licensed Customs Agents (NCMDLCA), Uchu Block, noted that the shipping lines commenced the collection of the new charges since the beginning of this year.

According to him, “They said that the due is called royalty to NPA because they are not collecting it directly, the shipping companies collect on their behalf. It is not approved. It is still part of the regulation stuff. When the news came I sent it to our President, Lucky Amiwero, who was in Abuja then. He wrote a letter to the government and nobody listened. Yes, he also wrote to the Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, and what are they even saying. The ones NSC stopped, the shipping lines are still collecting it. The matter is dying a natural death, because NSC has no power and they cannot enforce anything. So, I don’t know who will help this nation.”

Moves made to get reactions from the General Manager, Public Affairs at NPA, Abdullahi Goje failed at press time on Sunday.